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Aubrey Allen Smith

There still appears to be alot of confusion concerning whether or not persons with insulin diabetes are able to obtain a CDL license. For years, there was a ban that prevented those with diabetes who used insulin from driving commercial vehicles within interstate operation.  However, in 2003, the FMCSA introduced the Diabetes Exemption Program which allowed individuals with insulin treated diabetes the ability to operate a CMV in interstate commerce. 

In the beginning, this new regulation still had its problems.

Mainly, it still required that people with insulin diabetes must have already driven commercially for the previous three years. If not, they would not be qualified for the exemption. Therefore, this three year rule made the new regulation, basically worthless for any new, potential CDL holders.  This three year rule made it so difficult, that from 2003 to 2005, only four exemptions were issued.

Then, in late 2005, everything changed for the better. President Bush signed into law, doing away with the three year requirement. There is no longer any need to show previous commercial driving experience, even if you are on insulin. However, there still are 57 other screenings, guidelines and provisions that one must pass in order to be granted the exemption.  Also, one must abide by any particular state requirements in regards to the commercial driver license.

There are many questions and answers floating around the net stating that it is not possible to receive a CDL if you have insulin diabetes. The Truth is . . . YES YOU CAN!  Thanks to the new regulations of the Diabetes Exemption Program, signed into law in 2005.

Until the physical qualification standards within the regulations are amended by the FMCSA, you will have to apply for the exemption. Here is the 16 page Diabetes Exemption Form you can download and fill out:

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/safetyprograms/Diabetes/diabetes-exemption-package.pdf

You will have to be evaluated by an Endocrinologist and an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist, and the form has areas that will need to be filled out by the doctors. The FMCSA must grant or deny an exemption within 180 days of receiving your application.

According to the law passed by Congress, individuals with insulin treated diabetes will have to demonstrate that they have control of the diabetes while on insulin.  For those with Type 1 diabetes, they are required to have been on insulin for two months before they can apply for the exemption.  Individuals with Type 2 diabetes are required to have been on insulin for at least one month. But, as you can see, one or two months is much better than the three year rule!

If you have any questions concerning the Diabetes Exemption Program, you can email: medicalexemptions@dot.gov

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